Researchers at the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle, UK have developed a drug called Lenalidomide to treat multiple myeloma -- an incurable immune system disease.
The drug comes in pill form and is administered in four-week cycles, three weeks on and one-off. It is still being researched but is now being used in combination with other ongoing clinical trials. Normally, people with the disease experience alternation between periods of cancer needing treatment, and periods of remission. Each round of this cycle and the treatment typically required takes a toll on patients and their quality of life. Usually, remission lasts about eighteen months to two years. With the drug, time spent in remission can be more than doubled.
One woman who participated in the clinical trials for the drug, Pamela Page of Gateshead, has been in remission for seven years as a result of the drug. In an interview with the BBC, Page said: “Certainly for me, this drug worked really, really well saying I got seven years out of it. I think they were hoping I got three to four, so I really had a bonus...I made sure I went around to see all of my friends, and just to basically enjoy every day, it's so precious".
The drug appears to greatly increase the survival rates of the diagnosis, and the treatment has now been made available to the public through the NHS, as of late January. The hope is that it will be an effective intervention at the early stages of multiple myeloma.
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